Do I Need to Follow the Beatitudes?

Well, hey, thanks again for sending in your questions related to our recent sermons. As you know, we’ve started a new series the last couple of weeks, jesus’most Famous Sermon, which is his Sermon on the Mount. In the last two weeks, we’ve just been at the very beginning of the sermon, sermon in Matthew, chapter five in a section called the Be Attitudes. So a question comes in this week. Do I need to follow the Be attitudes?

Should I aim for those traits in my life? Should I try to be more like that? Is that the point of them, or is that one of the points of them? Steve has said in recent sermons that the beatitudes are not a to do list in the sense that they don’t gain us favor with God or create a relationship with God. All of that is accomplished by what Christ did, of course.

So in that sense, they’re not a to do list. But do I need to follow them? Do I need to be trying to add these things in my life? Is that what Jesus would want me to do? I’m going to answer that question with a kind of so kind of no and kind of yes first with kind of no.
One of the major points of the Beatitudes is to be setting up new categories in people’s minds of who is actually blessed or when can you be blessed? If you think about all the opposites of the Beatitudes, people in that culture and ours today would normally think it’s not those who mourn who are blessed. It’s those who are happy who are blessed. It’s not really the peacemakers or the merciful who are blessed. It’s those who can exert power on others and forcefully get their own way.

Those are the people who are blessed. It’s not the persecuted, of course, who are blessed. It’s maybe the people who persecute. They are the ones who are blessed. And Jesus is like, listen, not to say that there isn’t some blessing other places, but these people who you would normally say are not blessed really are.

There is favor there. God is doing something in your midst, even if you’re mourning, even if you’re persecuting, especially if you’re peacemaking, right? If you’re merciful later in the Sermon on the Mount, he’s going to talk about all kind of things of like pray for your enemies, love your enemies, give to those who persecute you, give to those who sue you. We talked about this a little bit last week, and always before those activities would have been associated with being cursed by God. And Jesus is like, no, actually, some of those people are blessed by God.

So that’s one of the major points. And that’s not really something to aim for. That’s just something to understand, right? You don’t have to force your own way to get blessed, even if you love your enemies and respond in mercy to when people are being wrathful to you. There’s a blessing there for you to have.

Again, that’s more of an understanding, it’s an awareness, it’s an awakening. Like oh, this is one way to be blessed now. So that’s sort of the no, it’s not really something to aim for, it’s something more to just understand. There’s blessing over here where we thought maybe there had never been blessing before, but kind of yes to aim for these things in our lives. Because the next set of verses which we’ll talk about in the week after Thanksgiving is you are the salt and light of the world and that is immediately following the beatitudes.

And you can imagine if there was a people who really cherished the moments that they could be peacemakers and merciful instead of forcing to get their own way. If they could really cherish the moments when they were persecuted, if they really cherished having a pure heart instead of having anger and malice and greed. If there was a group of people who really thought all of these things were wonderful, that not everybody else in the world thought was wonderful, those people really would be the light and salt of the world. They would add a lot of goodness to our world. And so in that sense, we do kind of need to aim for it.

The more that we understand that we are blessed when we are in any of the categories listed in the beatitudes, the more that we’re going to be positively influencing the world around us, the more that we will really look like Jesus. Like we said this last week, jesus is the fulfillment of the beatitudes. He really did all of these in our place. He is our king. And as teams always take on the personality of the coach, we should be taking on the personality of Jesus as he is more and more in our lives, that we really understand how wonderful it can be to be doing any of the things in the beatitudes if we’re mourning or if we’re poor in spirit, that those can be really wonderful moments.

And the more we understand that, probably the more light and salt that we will be to the world around us. So, thanks for your question and we will see you again next week.